Friday, November 14, 2014

HEISMAN TOP FIVE RANKINGS (THROUGH WEEK 11)


By: Connor Glowacki

photo courtesy of Wikipedia
     There are only a few weeks left in college football's regular season and the Heisman race has seen various faces throughout the last three months.
     Georgia running back Todd Gurley saw his chances of winning the award dashed after having to sit out for over a month of due to an NCAA investigation over the sale of signed autographs. Reigning Heisman winning Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has had an extremely disappoting season, statistically, on the field. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty has missed games due to various injuries, and Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill is now the backup in College Station!
     So much has changed, but five individuals have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. So let's take a look at the top five players remaining in the Heisman chase.


1.) Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota
2014 Stats: 186/277. 2,780 yards. 29 TDs, 2 INTs.
89 carries, 524 yards, 8 TDs.

photo courtesy of usatoday
     Yes, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott has been having a great season for the number one team in the country. But the Heisman trophy is awarded to the best collegiate player in the country. Prescott has had a great season, but Mariota's season has been incredible.
     He is on pace to have the most passing yards this season out of any other year that he has played at Oregon. He already has 29 touchdown passes and eight rushing touchdowns in the 2014 season. In 2013, Mariota threw for 31 touchdowns and ran for nine. With several games still remaining in the season, he will easily eclipse those numbers. He has a QBR of 184.6, the highest he's ever maintained in his career. And impressively enough, Mariota has only thrown two interceptions throughout the 2014 season.
     Even though Oregon's one lost was against a talented Arizona team earlier in the season, the Ducks have impressive wins over Stanford, Utah and Michigan State on their resume and are the number TWO team in the country. His dynamic and, surprisingly, efficient playmaking abilities showcase that he's the best player in the country.

2.) Mississippi State Quarterback Dak Prescott
2014 Stats: 146/239. 2,231 yards. 18 TDs, 7 INTs.
143 carries, 779 yards, 11 TDs.

photo courtesy of maroonandwhitenation.com
     The Heisman race is looking like a two horse race at this point between Mariota and Prescott. Prescott has jumped onto the national scene this season and has put up impressive numbers as a dual threat quarterback. His playmaking abilities have garnered him comparisons to former SEC quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tim Tebow. However, he has less passing yards, passing touchdowns, a smaller completion percentage, and has thrown more interceptions than Mariota during the 2014 season.
     So why is Prescott considered the favorite among several news publications? It's because he's the starting quarterback, and arguably the best player, on the number one team in the country. But it can also be because Mississippi State's schedule is more difficult than Oregon's. The Bulldogs defeated a dangerous LSU team on the road in 'Death Valley' and have taken apart other SEC West rivals in Texas A&M and Auburn. Oregon, most likely only has one more difficult game ahead of them. That would be the Pac-12 championship game, which will most likely be against a Top 10 ranked Arizona State squad.
     Mississippi State still have TWO road games against top 10 ranked Alabama and Ole Miss, in addition to an SEC Title game if they make it pass those two opponents. If Prescott and the Bulldogs beat all those teams and win the SEC, he should be the Heisman winner. Until then, we'll wait and see.

3.) Wisconsin Running Back Melvin Gordon
2014 Stats: 198 carries, 1,501 yards, 19 TDs.
11 catches, 83 yards, 2 TDs.

photo courtesy of cbssports
     With Georgia running back Todd Gurley missing over a month of games due to an NCAA investigation, Gordon has emerged as the top running back in the country leading an underrated Wisconsin team to a 7-2 record and a top 20 ranking. He ran for at least 100 yards in all but one game this season and for at least 200 yards in four games. He has successfully carried the torch from former Badgers running back Montee Ball as Wisconsin's new star runner.
     However, Gordon has several things that are working against him from winning a Heisman. First, only two running backs have won the coveted award in the last 13 years! Mark Ingram won while he played for Alabama in 2009 and Reggie Bush for USC back in 2005. Also, Wisconsin's schedule has been mediocre at best. Outside of a season opening 28-24 loss to LSU, the Badgers haven't played an opponent in the Top 25 of any poll.
     That lack of strength in their schedule will undoubtedly hurt Gordon's chances of winning the Heisman, barring complete collapses from Mariota and/or Prescott.

4.) Alabama Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
2014 Stats: 79 catches, 1,215 yards, 10 TDs

photo courtesy of bleacherreport
     2014 has been Cooper's best season as a member of the Crimson Tide. He has already posted a season high in receptions and receiving yards and is just one touchdown away from tying his highest mark of 11 touchdowns that he set in his freshman year back in 2012. Similar to Gordon, Cooper's chances of winning a Heisman are very slim due to playing a position that rarely wins the award.
     The last time that a wide receiver won the Heisman trophy was way back in 1991 when Michigan wide receiver and punt returner Desmond Howard emerged from the pack as the winner.   Nevertheless, Cooper's 2014 season has been remarkable. He has had at least 100 yards receiving in six games this season and at least 200 yards in two of those games. He has been Alabama's only true threat in the receiving game this season. The next wide receiver behind him on the depth chart has just 279 yards and two touchdown catches. Cooper gets double teamed repeatedly by SEC defenses and still comes up with the big play when needed.
     With huge games coming up against Mississippi State and Auburn, Cooper will have more chances to shine in the national spotlight. He might not win the Heisman, but he is the best wide receiver in the country and could soon be a star in the NFL.

5.) TCU Quarterback Trevone Boykin
2014 Stats: 203/350. 2,691 yards, 23 TDs and 4 INTs.
111 carries, 536 yards, 7 TDs.

photo courtesy of wvillustrated.com
     Like Mariota and Prescott, TCU's Boykin is a dual threat quarterback that has intimated defenses in the Big 12 and has become the star player for the number four ranked Horned Frogs. Sure he's had some bad games this year, most notably against Baylor and West Virginia, but he has put up big time numbers in wins against Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He has also impressively only thrown four interceptions throughout the entire season so far, which is less than what Prescott has thrown.
     One statistic that is worrisome about Boykin, however, is the completion percentage. Boykin has only completed 58 percent of his passes this season and it is far under the numbers that Mariota and Prescott have posted.
     TCU has an easy end to their regular season schedule with games against unranked Kansas, Texas and Iowa State. This should give Boykin solid opportunities to put together some big performances. But as of right now, he'll be a long-shot to win the Heisman.

Agree or disagree? Should someone else be on this list instead? Leave a comment below or tweet me your comment on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.

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